NEW YORK (PIX11) — With more than 80 percent of the votes in, New York City nurses have overwhelmingly voted to go on strike, according to the New York State Nurses Association.

Voting started on Dec. 9 and, so far, 98.8% of nurses have voted to authorize a strike, according to NYSNA. Union contracts for around 17,000 NYSNA nurses at 12 NYC private sector hospitals expire on Dec. 31.

The voting has already finished at BronxCare, Montefiore, Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai Morningside and West, NewYork-Presbyterian, and Richmond University Medical Center, according to NYSNA. Union officials expect the remaining nurses will vote in favor of a strike authorization.

Nurses consider a strike a last resort, but they’re prepared for it, NYSNA President Nancy Hagans said. Contract negotiations have been ongoing for months and nurses have decried dangerous staffing levels.

“Instead of supporting us and acknowledging our work, hospital executives have been fighting against COVID nurse heroes,” Hagans said. “They’ve left us with no other choice but to move forward with voting to authorize a strike for better patient care.”

As they prepare for a possible strike, the nurses are also dealing with COVID, flu and RSV. Aretha Morgan, a pediatric ER nurse at NewYork-Presbyterian, said their pediatric emergency room is short-staffed and overflowing.

“It is unbearable to see children suffer because we don’t have enough staff to provide safe patient care,” Morgan said. “And yet, NewYork-Presbyterian, which paid its CEO almost $12 million dollars in salary, bonus and perks in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, has failed to invest in hiring and retaining enough nurses.”

PIX11 News has reached out to Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams’ offices for statements about how a strike might impact the city and any plans they have in place for a possible strike.

“The administration is closely monitoring the potential for a labor action and will continue to ensure New Yorkers have the health care resources they need during this holiday season,” a spokesperson for Adams said.

A spokesperson for Hochul said they’re aware of the negotiations between NYSNA and hospitals. They want “all parties to come to the table.”

“The New York State Department of Health provides guidance for preparations facilities should make to prepare for a potential strike, collects information regarding facility readiness to maintain operations, and monitors the status of facilities during a strike period, should one occur, for capacity to maintain adequate healthcare resources to meet the needs of the impacted region,” a spokesperson for the state DOH said.